As home inspectors, we face complicated issues around every corner — safety concerns, managing expectations, and sometimes the most unfortunate issue of them all, a complicated client.
It doesn’t matter how many classes, training, or inspections you do; when you come across a difficult client, it can seem impossible to handle. You may be lucky and only come across one truly difficult client in your entire career, but chances are you’ll encounter a few.
Here are some tips for how to handle difficult clients and do your best job.
Five Approaches for Home Inspectors Dealing With Difficult Clients
Humans can be tricky. You may have done nothing wrong but it’s still not good enough, and now you have a client making complaints. Here are some different approaches for dealing with these clients.
1. Screen Clients
Well, this is actually a cautionary approach designed to help you avoid ever taking on a troublesome client.
You can and should be selective about the clients you take on. Home inspections are dangerous and you don’t want to put your business at risk. If the client seems to make a lot of demands or has unreasonable expectations, steer clear and look for other clients.
2. Define Expectations
When entering into an agreement with a client make sure you set, reset, and then clearly define expectations. Meet with your clients and make sure they fully understand your job and what to expect.
This can help you avoid any complaints down the road.
3. Be Consistent
When drafting home inspection reports, there are times when we are left to make a judgement call. Using consistent wording throughout your reports is crucial and can help you avoid liability and provide clear information.
4. Document Everything
Photos and videos can help you in the case of complaints or if the need to further explain issues is necessary. Organize all of your documentation and put pictures, notes, videos, etc. with time stamps (date included) and label them in individual folders on your computer.
Backing up digital files to the cloud may also be a good idea and allow you to protect yourself from future issues.
5. Be Understanding
Selling and buying a home are both difficult and can be an emotional process.
Hear your client out and then repeat back what you’ve heard so that you’re 100% sure you understand what their issue is.
Hopefully once they realize you are being accommodating, they will be more open to hearing your explanation.
Unfortunately, negative client interactions are inevitable at a certain point and the only thing you can do is stay calm and protect yourself, your reputation, and your business. If you can remain calm, you’ll be able to start a productive conversation and likely the situation will work itself out.
We hope these tips are helpful to you in your journey to being a great home inspector! For more posts on the latest tips, technologies, and news in home inspections take a look at our blog.
It’s still winter! Check out this recent post on home inspections in winter!
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